Feb 10, Vermont Public Radio: “Representation & Writing: Who Gets To Tell Whose Story?” feat. Rita Banerjee, 12 – 1 pm EST, 94. 1 FM, Montpelier VT

On Monday, February 10, from 12 noon – 1 pm, Radio Host of Vermont Edition Jane Lindhom will be interviewing Rita Banerjee on “Representation & Writing: Who Gets To Tell Whose Story?” on Vermont Public Radio. More details about the show follow below:

“Representation & Writing: Who Gets To Tell Whose Story?”
Vermont Edition Hosts: Jane Lindhom & Matthew Smith
Feb 10, 2020 * 12 – 1 pm EST (rebroadcast at 7 pm)
94.1 FM, Montpelier, 107.9 FM Colchester, VT
Live-stream online on VPR’s Website

Live call-in discussion: The new novel American Dirt revolves around a mother and son fleeing cartel violence in Mexico and attempting to cross into the U.S. But some critics argue the author doesn’t have the right to tell this story. The book’s publication has stirred controversy, launched the #DignidadLiteraria hashtag and led to discussion on diversity in the publishing world.

We’re talking with Vermont authors about representation, cultural appropriation and diversity in storytelling.

Our guests will include:

For more information & for the livestream online broadcast, visit Vermont Public Radio’s website here.

Muse & the Marketplace 2020 Panel: “Genre-Curious? Becoming a Successful Multi-Genre Writer Today” feat. Rita Banerjee * Sunday, April 5 * 11:45 am – 12:45 pm

Rita Banerjee will be presenting and leading the 2020 Muse & Marketplace session “Genre-Curious? Becoming a Successful Multi-Genre Writer Today” on Sunday, April 5 from 11:45 am – 12:45 pm.  More information about the session follows below:

Genre Curious?  Becoming a Successful Multi-Genre Writer Today

Sunday April 5, 2020 * 11:45am – 12:45pm
St. James Room – 4th Floor * Block 10Lecture with Q&A

Muse & Marketplace 2020 Conference

From Carmen Maria Machado to Ocean Vuong, Alexander Chee, and Ben Lerner, in today’s literary world, writers are increasingly jumping the genre tracks.  Speculative fiction writers are producing memoirs, poets are producing novels, novelists are producing essay collections, and essayists are becoming poets.  So why are so many authors today so genre-curious?  By writing in more than one genre, do authors continue to tap into their creativity daily and avoid writer’s block?  Moreover, what about the myth that successful, commercial writers only produce work in one genre?  In this talk, we will discuss how authors can navigate the publishing world, learn new craft techniques and genre forms, negotiate with agents and editors, and produce the books they need to while building a career as highly successful multi-genre writers.

Writers can sign-up for the session while seats remain open here.

About the Author:

Rita Banerjee is the Director of the MFA in Writing & Publishing program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, and author of CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing (C&R Press, 2018) and Echo in Four Beats (FLP, 2018).  She is also the co-writer with David Shields of Burning Down the Louvre (2020), a documentary film about race, intimacy, and tribalism in the United States and in France.

AWP 2020 Panel: “Dismantling the White Imagination: On Intimacy in Creative Nonfiction” feat. Emily Arnason Casey, Rita Banerjee, Jericho Parms, Aisha Sabatini Sloan, & David Shields * Sat, March 7 * 9 – 10:15 am

Rita Banerjee will be presenting on Burning Down the Louvre (2020), a documentary film on race, intimacy, and tribalism in the United States and in France that she is co-writing with essayist David Shields at the 2020 AWP Conference during the following panel:

S122. Dismantling the White Imagination: On Intimacy in Creative Nonfiction

AWP Conference * Saturday, March 7, 2020 * 9:00-10:15 am
Room 205, Henry B. González Convention Center
900 E Market St, San Antonio, TX 78205

Creative nonfiction requires intimacy and vulnerability. Within a genre where the relationship between “I” and “you” is always on the line, how can we as writers forge connections between self and other? How can we reimagine whiteness and disrupt the marginalization of nonwhite voices? By exploring the electric space of collaboration and conversation, panelists will discuss how writers of color and white writers can make otherized identities familiar and new American narratives viable.



Emily Arnason Casey is the author of Made Holy: Essays. Her writing has appeared in the Normal School, The RumpusHotel AmerikaBriar Cliff Review, Mid-American Review, and elsewhere. She teaches writing at the Community College of Vermont. www.emilyarnasoncasey.com

Rita Banerjee is the director of the MFA in Writing & Publishing program at Vermont College of Fine Arts and author of Echo in Four BeatsCREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing, and A Night with Kali. Her work appears in Poets & WritersThe RumpusVIDA, and LARB.

Aisha Sabatini Sloan is the author of The Fluency of Light: Coming of Age in a Theater of Black and White and Dreaming of Ramadi in Detroit, which won the CLMP Firecracker Award for Nonfiction. She is currently the Helen Zell Visiting Professor of Creative Nonfiction at the University of Michigan.

Jericho Parms is the author of Lost Wax. Her essays have appeared in Fourth GenreThe Normal SchoolHotel AmerikaBrevity, and elsewhere. She received her MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and teaches at Champlain College.

David Shields is the internationally bestselling author of more than 20 books, including Reality Hunger (30 “best books of 2010” mentions),The Thing about Life Is That One Day You’ll Be Dead (New York Times bestseller), The Trouble with Men, and Nobody Hates Turmp More Than Trump. He is an NBCC finalist and his books appear in twenty-four languages.

For more information, please visit the AWP 2020 Conference website here.

Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Summer in Paris Writing Retreat (July 16-21, 2020) Now Open For Applications!

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Summer in Paris Writing Retreat will take place from July 16-21, 2020.  Situated in heart of Paris’ Montparnasse neighborhood, amongst the fresh and popular open air markets and charming boutiques, the hotel stay is full of Parisian charm, and retreat activities will include craft of writing seminars and creative writing workshops, literary tours of Paris. If you’re serious about writing and want to soak in some exquisite French culture this summer, join our retreat in Paris!   The faculty includes award-winning writers David Shields, Diana Norma Szokolyai, and Rita Banerjee.  Genres include poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. If you’d like to join us in Paris, France, please apply online at cww.submittable.com by May 30, 2020. Scholarship Applications due March 1, 2020.  More info: cww.nyc 

Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Spring in New Orleans Writing Retreat (March 19-22, 2020) Now Open For Applications!

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Spring in New Orleans Writing Retreat will take place from March 19-22, 2020. Known for its Spanish and French architecture, live jazz, cajun food, and street festivals, New Orleans offers an inspirational and one-of-a-kind environment for creative writers. During the retreat, we will be staying in downtown New Orleans, just a short walk away from the Historic French Quarter.  The faculty includes award-winning writers & playwrights: Stephen Aubrey, Rita Banerjee, and Diana Norma Szokolyai. All genres welcome. Genres include playwriting, nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. The cost of the retreat includes tuition, lodging, and some meals. If you’d like to join us in New Orleans, please apply online at cww.submittable.com by March 10, 2020.  Scholarships Applications are due by March 1, 2020.  More info: cww.nyc 

Rita Banerjee’s essay “Birth of Cool” on 9/11 and a generation coming of age and keeping its cool debuts in Hunger Mountain

18 years and 12 hours ago, Rita Banerjee was in the middle of a generation coming of age and witnessing 9/11. Her essay “Birth of Cool” captures how a generation of young people watched 9/11 and kept their cool.

An excerpt from “Birth of Cool,” which debuts in Hunger Mountain (Issue 23: Silence & Power) follows below:

Lauren played her Gibson on the phone for me. Voodoo Child. Learning Hendrix one blistered finger at a time. Stairway to Heaven. A poster of Jimmy Page and Robert Plant hung on her bedroom wall. Plant made love to the microphone in his too-tight jeans and denim jacket. His threads hadn’t been washed in decades. Neither had he. His hair was a total mess: wastrel, lion, drunken boat. His stance suggested everything hot and sticky and full of sweat. Plant sang as if his life depended on it. As if Page were a living siren: all dark curls and velvet. Soft everywhere. And cool where it mattered. Who was the devil and who the angel here? Their hair, their dishabille, their guitar riffs, their primal screams. What were Plant and Page selling to us, neo-nostalgic teens of the ’90s? Was it sex or something else? A taste of barely contained passion or total apathy? Whatever it was, it became the object of our attraction, our envy. Could a woman ever be so decadent? So illustrious? So free?

Lauren bent over her guitar and strummed, as if she were searching for an answer, as if the metallic edge of her Gibson could vibrate to the right pitch of cool. Her mom had immigrated from Hong Kong and her dad came from nowhere Zen, New Jersey. They spoke Cantonese on the phone together when they wanted to keep their secrets secret. But Lauren, always listening when she shouldn’t have, found out that her mother was pregnant anyway. Her father played in garage bands. He was born with an electric guitar. And so was she. When our history teacher went around the class and asked what kind of music do you listen to? I said, “Garbage,” and Lauren, “Hendrix.”

At her sweet sixteen, we sang “Landslide,” in an improvised, acoustic harmony. Her living room, surrounded by turn-of-the-century Qing chests and miniature lacquered paintings, felt like a recording studio that afternoon. Red cushions, low lights, and dark walnut furniture. A makeshift cabaret for a bunch of girls, barely legal. Gillian with her dark hair and half-smile, belting out the lyrics louder than anyone else. As if she were Stevie Nicks, herself, and knew the truth about pain. Her parents had divorced. Ours just seemed to fight all the time. So Gillian held the honor of being part mystic, part witch in our tribe.

At another sweet sixteen, Maddy sang, “I Will Survive,” and we girls danced primitive, like women, as if our lives depended on it. What heartaches had we experienced? What did we know about life at sixteen? Most of us hadn’t seriously been in love yet. With a man or a woman. We were just beginning to learn what it meant to come of age. To gaze into the future. To gaze back, an old crone, towards all the mistakes and milestones of our life. And what we saw, at sixteen, frightened us. We were experienced. We sang Fleetwood Mac, Hendrix, and Led Zeppelin together in Lauren’s living room, as if classic rock could keep the future at bay. As if these staged rebels in their infinite costumes, postures, and expressions of cool could save us. Save us from becoming adults. Save us from becoming women. Save us from a million taboos and stigmas and haunting forms of socialization.

“Darling go make it happen,” Lauren’s voice picked up tempo on the phone, “take the world in a love embrace.” Her guitar kept up the song’s dirty rhythm and twanged just when it mattered. I tried to impress her by playing back Joplin, Brubeck, Bach, Beethoven, Yann Tiersen, different time signatures, and chord progressions on the piano. In the ’90s, we spent so many afternoons like that. On the second line just for us: chatterboxes, klutzes, not yet agents of our lives. Girls. Our songs fused and interrogated one another. They hardly made sense. But that’s how we were. She and me. Latchkey kids. Part-time musicians. Like a true nature’s child. Our jams short-circuited every style in history.

To read the full essay, order a copy of Hunger Mountain or visit their website here.

Poets House Reading feat. Rita Banerjee, James Ragan, & Finishing Line Press Authors – September 13, 7 pm

On Friday, September 13, from 7 pm – 10 pm, join Finishing Line Press at the Poets House  (10 River Terrace, New York, NY 10282 ) for a reading by FLP poets James Ragan, Rita Banerjee, Deborah Kahan Kolb, Stephanie Laterza, Danelle Lejeune, Mark A. Murphy, Dawn Marar, Katherine E. Schneider and others.

This event is free and open to the public.  The reading by Finishing Line Poets will be followed by an Open Mic portion.  Snacks and drinks will be provided.  This event is made possible through Poets House’s Literary Partners program. Poets House is an ADA accessible facility.  For more information, please visit Poets House or Finishing Line Press’s events page.